They’re calling him a lowly staffer, but that’s who you send to do deniable dirty work isn’t it? For my part, I am pissed off with Israel. That’s a political position: Masot may be a junior arsehole, but he’s their arsehole, and they chose him to come here.
While it infuriates me, this revelation doesn’t surprise me. It’s more a confirmation of what we knew when we saw John Mann’s weird hysteria and were treated to the unedifying sight of the cowardly British media falling into line to shore up an obvious fabrication. Anti-semitism is a political tactic and the Israeli state uses it politically. Now we know that Israel meddles in British democracy and plays on racism to muddy British foreign policy towards Palestine. Watch the smug spy smirking with self-congratulation as he wages illegal war on British democracy and then wonder about all the “friends of Israel” whinging about “anti-semitism” whenever there’s a chance to shut up concerns about human rights in Palestine. The treasonous, corrupt civil servant with whom he’s flirting seems to be lapping it up.
The attacks on the Labour party and the theatrical, hypocritical head-shaking about ‘Labour’s anti-semitism problem’ over the last two years have been particularly galling as, in truth, right-wing racism of all kinds, including virulent anti-semitism – not criticism of Israeli military policy rooted in concerns over Palestinian human rights, but the old hatred of identifying and maligning difference for the sake of personal aggrandisement – is only too evident in the UK and, particularly over the last year, in the U.S. I’m not a huge anti-fascist campaigner, but even I have been unable to avoid news of desecration of Jewish cemeteries (it happened twice while I was living in Portsmouth and went virtually unreported on the mainstream news).
Jewish political voices in the UK and US have, by no means exclusively, but vocally, been aligned with the right, rather than the left, over the last couple of decades. This has, I think, skewed the understanding and reporting of racism against many groups, as the right has sought to reject identity politics, where people campaign for and assert the dignity of particular elements of their personal cultural identification. The right is not as ready to sympathise with groups whose purpose is to celebrate difference from the societally dominant ‘ideal’: the white, property-owning conservative responds to claims of injustice with pleas for ‘the rights of white people’ or ‘what about men?’. In reality, that response, facile as it is, is an expression of discomfort with what they see as an outsider political class, nipping at their privileges.
Such an identification has been a bit of a disaster, as intellectual Jewish voices on the Left have continued to argue, and as their more Centrist or Right Wing counterparts are beginning to admit. In this video, Chemi Shalev, the former editor of Haaretz, says exactly that (his interview starts at 1:02):
I think American Jews are very worried about it and, I think, perhaps, rightly so. It’s not so much that this anti-semitism didn’t exist before – it probably did exist – but it was under the radar and I think what everybody was surprised by was that it suddenly exploded into the public view; for many reasons, among them, social media, but also because it seemed that the candidacy of Donald Trump brought forth or emboldened all sorts of anti-semitic or anti-Jewish groups who nobody paid any attention to any more. I think the American Jewish community was paying attention more to the left and it sort of assumed, wrongly, that the issue of anti-semitism on the right was by-the-way: as everyone knows, that is where, historically, anti-semitism has come from – as if it was dormant, if not dead.
In the UK, the absurdity of the campaign to paint the left as inherently anti-semitic is embodied, for me, by the picture below. Jeremy Corbyn is a politician inseparable from the politics of decency, equal rights, cross-community friendship and anti-racism. Tarring him as an anti-semite was a towering piece of hypocritical genius, and the point at which I stopped listening was when Jewish people who knew him, both socialist and otherwise, were shouted down for saying, “no, he’s a decent bloke and would never give support to any form of racism”. The attack broadened, of course, with John Mann’s deranged grandstanding being probably the low point, although Laura Kuenssberg comes a close second in the ‘let’s see how far from reality we can lead this country’ campaign.
Simply because of the traction that an embarrassing mob movement can get through brute force, it’s right to again challenge the lie of the British left being anti-semitic by once more stating the obvious. I am not motivated by anti-buddhism when I express disapproval of Burmese oppression of its people; nor am I driven by anti-Hinduism when I assert the illegality of the Sri-Lankan Army’s injustices in its genocide against the Tamils; nor am I feeling Islamaphobia when I get exercised by the many cruelties of Saudi Arabia: these are political observations, rather than oppressive hatred of human identities. I find the evidence of the cruelties of the Israeli state towards its neighbours and its own citizens repulsive, and that doesn’t mean that I ‘approve’ of the actions of all the people who resist the Israeli state and it certainly doesn’t mean that I hate Israelis en masse. Political opposition to a position or to a political power does not need to be grounded in hatred: it is the haters who like to keep that lie going, as a way of normalising their pathologies. There is much that I admire about Israel: it is, however, a state built on recent colonialism, much of the responsibility for which lies in the hands of my own country. At least, until 2009, it had a vigorous internal democracy and some sense of responsibility for its behaviour: its current government is, like so many incumbents squeezing the life out of democracies around the world, one that regards itself as above moral censure, and unaccountable, except to its own hatreds, fears and greeds.
Tony Greenstein is very sound on the whole topic of false accusations of left-wing anti-semitism. I particularly recommend his coverage of the Al Jazeera revelations, here, and here. If you haven’t followed recent Labour Party politics, Jon Lansman is the head of Momentum, the pressure group that grew out of the Jeremy For Leader movement, but which has pretty much capitulated to the contrived and ridiculous “anti-semitism row” that we all knew was a false-flag lie, but about which we now have proof. As Greenstein puts it:
It is a telling indictment of the Establishment-based politics of all these news organisations, including the ‘liberal’ Guardian, that none of them even thought to ask whether or not the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign that erupted even before Jeremy Corbyn was elected, might be a co-ordinated and systematic campaign, orchestrated by the Israeli and possibly American embassies in conjunction with MPs who were in essence strategic assets of both countries.
I hope that what this new revelation about the interference in British domestic politics by a foreign power means is that we can all get past the clouds of confusion raised by liars who like to exploit racism for their own ends. Israel is, for once, on the back foot over a foreign policy issue, (Sign up required, but worth it: their journalism is another thing I admire about Israel) and their explanations sound partial and thin, as Haaretz points out. They’re calling him a lowly staffer, but that’s who you send to do deniable dirty work isn’t it? For my part, I am pissed off with Israel. That’s a political position: Masot may be a junior arsehole, but he’s their arsehole, and they chose him to come here. They must take responsibility.
Update: it seems that the Israeli establishment’s denial of him is a transparent lie anyway: he’s been identified as a spy working for an office of the extremely nasty (and, apparently, incompetent)Israeli secret police, the Shin Bet, who routinely export “…what [Israeli security analyst, Yossi] Melman terms “special operations” or “black ops” which may include “defamation campaigns, harassment and threats to the lives of activists” as well as “infringing on and violating their privacy.” He’s a spy, tasked by the Israeli secret police to meddle in foreign countries’ affairs. By their jargon ye shall know them: they call the murders of civilians they commit ‘targeted civil eliminations’. I have always been dubious about the idea of boycotting Israel, but not any more. I do occasionally use Tesco, but that’s going to stop. No sodastream for me either.